The final sporting event of the 2022-23 school year took place Sunday afternoon, with the Woods Charter girls soccer team falling to Christ the King, 1-0. The final whistle marked the end of what has been a stellar sporting school year for Chatham County’s six high schools.
With that in mind, I’d like to highlight some of the top performances we’ve seen from Chatham athletes since the beginning of the fall season in August. While I’ll try and highlight as many achievements as I can here, I’m sure to miss a few. But that’s O.K. For a full retrospective on the year, you can always check out our website at chathamnewsrecord.com.
While the Chatham County high school football teams struggled, the 2022 fall season saw multiple local athletes claim state championships in their specific sports.
At the 2A cross country state championships, Seaforth sophomore Jack Anstrom took home the gold medal with a time of 16:15.43, besting several talented runners over a 5,000-meter course at Ivey Redmon Park in Kernersville. The win came one year after Anstrom finished second in the same race at the 2021 state meet.
The week before, Chatham Central seniors Olivia Brooks and Ellie Phillips claimed the 1A tennis doubles state championship, rallying from a first-set deficit to take down Bishop McGuinness’ Isabella Ross and Nina Holton.
Brooks and Phillps also led the Bears to the state finals of the 2A dual team state tournament. Chatham Central was beaten, 5-0, by Mount Airy in the title match, but the team still considered the year a success after advancing farther in the state playoffs than they did the previous season.
Among the top regular-season teams during the fall of 2022 in Chatham County was the seaforth girls tennis team. The Hawks entered the 2A state tournament as the No. 1 seed in the east region after compiling an 11-2 regular season record and sweeping the Mid-Carolina Conference championships, but they lost in the first round of the playoffs to Triangle Science & Math, 7-2.
The 2022-23 winter season was highlighted by the stellar play of several Chatham County basketball teams. In total, four teams — the Chatham Charter boys, the Chatham Charter girls, the Seaforth girls and the Northwood boys — all made at least the state semis, with the latter three advancing to their respective state title games.
The Chargers, Hawks and Knights all played in the state finals on the same day, March 11, and all three teams lost their games. The Northwood boys lost to Central Cabarrus, while the Seaforth girls fell to Salisbury and the Chatham Charter girls were dominated by Bishop McGuinness.
Three Chatham County individual athletes won state championships during the winter, and two did so on the same day: Feb. 11. First, at the 3A swimming state championships in Cary, Northwood sophomore Abby Emrich took first place in the 200-yard freestyle. Then, at the 1A/2A indoor track state championships in Winston-Salem, Seaforth sophomore Will Cuicchi won the 1,000-meter race in a personal-best time of 2:37.83.
One week prior, Northwood senior Dream Walker made history as the first Chatham County athlete to win a women’s wrestling state championship. She took home first place in the heavyweight division at the state meet, besting Lumberton junior Wyntergale Oxendine in the final match in her division.
In boys wrestling, Seaforth freshman Gabe Rogers (106 pounds) and junior Josh Miller (113 pounds) won second place in their respective weight classes and came away with silver medals at the NCHSAA individual championships in late February. Their performance helped Seaforth finish 11th overall out of 70 teams competing in the event.
The final season of the school year saw plenty of top-tier performances from Chatham County athletes, but only one individual was able to take home a state championship in their respective sport.
That athlete was Northwood junior Noah Nielson, who took home first place in the 800-meter race at the 2A outdoor track championships in Greensboro back in May. Nielsen finished with a time of 1:53.73, almost a second faster than second-place finisher Matthew Quispe of Croatan.
Two other Chatham athletes — Anstrom and Seaforth freshman Cali O’Neil — picked up second-place finishes in the boys 1,600-meter race and the girls 800-meter race, respectively.
Two Chatham County teams made deep playoff runs that ended in the state championship game. After pulling off several road upsets during the postseason, the Northwood boys lacrosse team lost to Lake Norman Charter, 19-8, in the finals of the 1A/2A/3A state tournament. The Chargers’ girls team also had a solid season and eventually lost in the state semifinals to Croatan.
The second team to make a state title game in the spring was Woods Charter, which lost to Christ the King in the 1A state finals for the second year in a row. The Wolves had only lost one game — a 1-0 defeat at Franklin Academy on April 11 — before dropping Sunday’s final.